Monday, October 30, 2017

Secret Service Protective Research File

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US Secret Service Protective Research Section Files

By William Kelly

There are many interesting and significant records released in the October 26 batch, and while different documents have been getting mainstream media attention, the release of the Secret Service Protective Research files reviewed by the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) are especially significant.

As Phil Melanson describes in his book "The Secret Service" (2002, Carrroll and Graff), “The Service’s Protective Research data bank is crammed with files on groups, organizations, people and past event and incidents, all of them indexed and cross indexed. What most Americans don’t know is that a simple call or email from someone with a personal ax to grind can land virtually anyone on the Watch List. Many thousands of citizens – most of them harmless – are on file as having been checked out for one reason or another a potential threat, and each year the file swells with several thousand new names....”

“The system is, as the Service describes it, is ‘primarily directed towards identifying dangerous individuals.’ There are over fifty thousand Americans in the Protective Research files, ostensibly because of some actual threat or some problem or characteristic that makes them potentially dangerous. Cross-checked against lists of employees at the hotels and airports where protectees appear the group is constantly monitored. When the president is on the road, the file is whittled down to identify dangerous people in the specific areas that he will visit. Dubbed the ‘Trip File,’ it may contain as many as a hundred names…In their advance work, agents try to learn whether these individuals are still in the area; whether they are in jail, hospitalized, or at liberty; and what their current condition is, which usually means seeking to interview them. Sometimes, if a red flag of some sort goes up in the interview, a few people will actually be detained for the duration of the president’s visit.”

“A second and more menacing list of names is prepared for each trip: These are the individuals in the area who are considered to be definitely dangerous, as opposed to potentially dangerous…”

Former Secret Service Agent Gerald Blaine, in his book “The Kennedy Detail” (Gallary Books, 2010, p.59) writes: “The first stop before any advance was always the PRS. Located in the Executive Office Building, next door to the White House, the PRS office were the nerve center for tracking threat cases. Any time there was a threat made against the president’s life – whether it was a written letter, a phone call, details gathered from an informant, field investigation, or an unstable person trying to get inside the Northwest Gate of the White House – an investigative report was initiated and a case file number is issued. A PRS agent would type the report on carbon paper so there would be multiple copies, noting the threat maker’s name, last known address, a synopsis of the threats made, a description of the person, and their medical history, if known. Cases are analyzed and categorized according to the seriousness of the threat.”

“The records room of the PRS office contained row and rows of gray metal four-drawer file cabinets that held thousands of threat suspect files, organized by case number. There were smaller file cabinets where index cards of each suspect were organized both geographically and alphabetically. The cards were cross-referenced to the case files. Thus if you knew either the name of the suspect or their last known location you go to the small index drawers, locate the card, which would have a case number on it, then go to the large filing cabinets to get the master file.”

(p.76) “…Win Lawson had checked PRS for threat suspect in Texas, specifically in the Dallas area, and had been pleasantly surprised to find that there weren’t any.”

Melanson: "Dubbed the 'Trip File,' it may contain as many as a hundred names." 

Rather than “pleasantly surprised,” Lawson was more likely incredulous, as everyone knew that UN ambassador Adlai Stevenson was attacked and beaten with posters by demonstrators in Dallas a few weeks before and the President and his staff were repeatedly warned not to come to Dallas because of the fever of hate.

As Melanson wrote, “In the weeks before Kennedy arrived in Dallas, the Service did make a special effort to identify the individuals who had fomented a near-riot by throwing rocks during the Adlai Stevenson incident. Agents worked with the Dallas police, who found an informant willing to identify the ring-leader of the demonstration by viewing television film of the incident; then the Secret Service made still pictures of these ringleader and distributed the images to agents and police who would be stationed at Love Field and at the Trade Mart. None of these troublemaker was ever spotted before or during the Kennedy visit.”

The late Phil Melanson, a good friend and colleague, did not have access to this PRS file, as a number of these troublemakers were identified at the Trade Mart and indeed arrested. They hailed from Grand Prairie, where a local policeman was recruited to go undercover and infiltrate their group, and did so.

Former TV reporter and later Mayor of Dallas Wes Wise told me that he assisted the police and Secret Service in reviewing news film of the Stevenson incident and helped isolate the troublemakers on the film, so they could make still portraits of them that were distributed to police and agents in the security detail at the Trade Mart, photos that are not in the JFK collection at the NARA, as they should be. Now, thanks to the release of this file, we have their names. 

In addition, shortly after the assassination, a Secret Service agent at the Trade Mart identified one of the suspects as John Martin from rural northern Louisiana (not Jack “Scruggs” Martin), but rather a young college student who was considered one of the first suspects in the assassination, and he called the John Rice, Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans Secret Service office. Rice was contacted at the Special Investigations office at an Air Force Base in northern Louisiana, and instructed to go to John Martin’s hometown to do a background check, which he did. When he was finished he was told it wasn’t relevant as Lee Harvey Oswald was in custody.

This PRS file is important not only for identifying those “troublemakers,” but because it indicates there were some individuals from Texas who were in the files, not shared with Lawson, including James Parrott, who the file indicates, was identified on November 21, the day before George H.W. Bush visited Dallas and dropped a dime on Parrott, identifying him as a potential suspect in the assassination, as detailed in Russ Baker’s “Family of Secrets.”

Another odd aspect of this file, besides listing Cuban and Puerto Rican terrorists, mental cases, gate crashers and drunks, it includes Milteer, Nagell, Hemming, Echevarria, Bosch, Vallee, Oswald, JFK himself, Ruby, Oswald’s mother and family and close friends like Ruth and Michael Paine and George and Jeanne deMohrenschildt.

This is one "Smoking File." 

These records are from the index cards - we should FOIA the main files of key suspects.


US Secret Service Protective Research Service File
413 Pages

Secret Service Protective Cases established period covering March-December 1963

HSCA comment:  “In reviewing  the 413 computer print out on Protective Research cases set up during the time period between March and December, 1963, it became evident that the Secret Service paid some attention to foreign assassinations. Case #401 on Thelma Estella King was referred to the Service by the CIA on 3/8/63. Ms. King was alleged to be involved in an assassination plot against JFK and the President of Panama during a meeting in that country….However, it is questionable as to why the Diem brothers’ assassination was not given a case number. Review of the files showed no mention, whatsoever, of the assassination occurring in Vietnam prior to the planned Chicago trip of Kennedy on November 2, 1963.”

SAMPLES of 413 Cases listed in this file: 


Name of individual: PEREZ-VEGA, VIRGILIO
Reason for PRS interest: FBI referred subject to USSS in 1963 describing him as a pro-Castro Puerto Rican, in possession of an automatic pistol and a knowledge of how to make bombs. Admits to being Secretary in July 26 movement. Left 1961 since he did not like members.
Degree of threat: 
Organizations to which individual belongs:  Puerto Rican Nationalist PRN; Member of July 26 Movement in Washington D.C.
Nationalist Group: Puerto Rican
Date Called to Secret Service attention: 12-16-63
Referred by other agency: FBI
Action taken: Put under observation. Showed no interest in President during inaugural, 1965. SA interviewed subject during surveillance on 1/19/65 and subject voiced no animosities towards President. Considered not dangerous 2/24/67. Has continued writing letter to political figures.
Location: Silver Springs, Md.

Name of individual: HEMMING, GERALD PATRICK
Reason for PRS interest: Not given – looks like result of JFK assassination and Hemmings association with Cuban elements. 4/61 part in Anti-Catro rev. activity, est. anti-CP legionnaires, set up training camp in Fl. Everglades. 7/61 headed Interpen. In 1963 made derogatory remarks about US govt. and suspected of being a Cuban agent. 7/70 involved in plan to effect warfare between US-Cuba by having defecting Cuban military personnel fire missile at USN Base Guantanamo Bay getting US into military takeover.
Organizations to which individual belongs: mercenary
Date Called to Secret Service attention: 12/5/63
Action taken: It does not look like S.S. has taken any action. Hemming is under investigation by ATF and DEA for weapons and drug violations since 1/77. Information on this subject has probably been obtained from other agencies.
Last location: Opalocka, Fl.

Name of individual: ECHEVARRIA, HOMER S.
Reason for PRS interet: Nov. 1963, informant advised Chicago office that subject was a member of anti-Castro Cuban group. Subject allegedly approached informant to provide machine guns for Cuba rev. 11//21/63 subject allegedly told informant “We now have plenty of money - - our new backers are Jews – as soon as ‘we’ or ‘they’ take care of Kennedy….” Subject expressed favorable attitude toward LBJ.
Action taken: Investigation by Chicago office did not disclose any violations under our jurisdiction and check-ups never initiated. Subject not interviewed.

Name of individual: BOCH-AVILA, ORLANDO
Reason for PRS interest: subject head of MIRR in Miami reportedly planned to picket Pres. 11/18/63 with Cuban fighter widows. Dec. 1963 arrested possession of bombs – planning air raid on Castro. Involved in bombing of homes of wealthy Cubans in Miami area for extortion. Extensive files on this man – most dealing with the 70’s. No mention of his plan to attack AF1. Kissinger plot is mentioned.
Action taken: S.S. kept tabs – considered him dangerous
Last location: Caracas, Venezuela  ’78

Name of individual: ALEX, NICHOLAS H.
Reason for PRS interest: 1963 telegram to Pres. Attempted to visit Pres at hotel 10-30-63
-mild mental case. No diagnosis.
Action taken: Interviewed 5/5/64. Deemed not dangerous
Last location: Haverford, Pa. ‘75

Name of individual: TONE, JOHN
Reason for PRS interet: 5/63 WH visitor who said he had no friends in the world. President was only place he could get help.
Schizophrenic-paranoid type - Black
Date called to Secret Service attention: 5/10/63
Action taken: Committed from WH, 5/63 and confined until 2/64. Had been arrested in past for carrying a pistol and had cut a man up badly.
Location of subject lat: Dallas, Tx. ‘66

Name of Individual: VALLEE, THOMAS ARTHUR
Reason for PRS interest: 10-30-63 subj was reported by confidential source to have made critical remarks re JFK adm. Subj alleges to be a member of JBS and previously hospitalized in VA hosp as schizo Not considered dangerous. Owns rifle and member of a gun club. Interviewed ’63 and ’66 In ’68 interview spoke irrationally
Danger of threat: 3 (out of 3)
Organizations to which individual belongs: John Birch Society
Action taken: SA interviewed him 10-30-63. No mention of danger. Does show that he was arrested 11/2/63 for traffic and CCW. Apparently from reports, Vallee was not dangerous. In 11/26/68 interview, SA did not consider him to be of further protective interest. No interest in protectees was shown. QI’s ’63 to ’68 Attempt to locate him in re to Brezhnev’s visit proved negative.
Last location: Houston ’71

Name of individual: PARROTT, JAMES MILTON
Reason for PRS interest: 11/21/63 info rec’d that subj stated in ’61 “If I had a chance to kill him, I would” referring to JFK. Since then appeared to various high officials about communism, etc.  Came to S.S. HQ complaining about SS.
Degree of threat: 2 (out of 3)
Organizations to which individual belongs: John Birch Society – Minuteman – Freedom of Action Society
Date called to Secret Service attention: 11/21/63
Action taken: Interviewed 1/28/64 and subj denied above statement. QI’s initiated; discont. 5/6/70. Deemed not of protective interest. S.S. kept tabs of doings, however.
Last location: Jacinto City, Tx. ’77

Name of individual: NANCE, ERNEST ROSCOE
Reason for PRS interest:  11-19-63 Austin P.D. reported that suspect had called them and said he’d throw a bomb in LBJ’s face.
Degree of threat: 2   (out of 3)
Date called to Secret Service attention: 11/21/63
Action taken:
Interviewed 11/25/63. Cooperative. Dislikes the Pres. Was drunk when call was made.
Last location: Austin ‘69

Name of individual: OSWALD, LEE HARVEY
Reason for PRS interest: 11/22/63 killed JFK
Date called to Secret Service attention: 11/22/63

Name of individual: KENNEDY, JOHN F.
Reason for PRS interest: ASSASSINATED

Name of individual: RUBY, JACK LEON
Reason for PRS interest: 11/24/63 subject killed JFK assassin

Reason for PRS interest: OSWALD, ROBERT LEE (JR)

Name of individual: MCLARRY, RUSSELL WENCE
Reason for PRS interest: 11/21/63 prior to visit of JFK to Dallas subj said, “I will be waiting with my high power rifle for the president.”
Date called to Secret Service attention: 11/22/63
Action taken: Interviewed 12/17/63; said he probably did make such a statement; that if he did it was a joke. He was not sorry he said it and was glad JFK was dead. Antagonistic. Arreted 12/19/63 under 871. Brought before a Grand Jury. Last interviewed 9/67; expressed no dislike for the Preident. Appeared rational.
Last location: Arlington, Tx ‘67

Name of individual: NAGELL, RICHARD CASE
Reason for PRS interest: 11/21/63 subject wrote the FBI and requested to speak to the S.S. about an urgent matter. Subject confined in jail after attempting to rob a bank and firing shots.
Degree of threat: 3 (of 3) (in jail)
Action taken: 1/3/64 SA interviewed subject who claims he knew LHO and wife socially and did not want to be associated with Oswald’s crime. 6/9/64 subj sentenced to 10 years for robbery. 11/8/67 SA determined subject no longer of protective interest. Check of file shows no substantiation for his remark that he knew the Oswalds. Marina was shown his photo and claimed to have never seen him. In late 60’s went to Europe and caused scene. Has Oswald fixation but not of protective interest.
Last location: Manhattan Beach, CA ’74

Name of individual: JOINTER, GARY DWAYNE
Reason for PRS interest: Arrested 11/22/63 while picketing Trade Mart in Dallas. After assassination. In company of 4 others
Degree of threat: 3 (of 3)
Organizations: Indignant White Citizen’ Council
Date called to Secret Service attention: 11/21/63
Location of subject last: Grand Prairie ’63

#364 Name of individual: MILTEER, JOSEPH ADAMS
Reason for PRS interest: Subject on 11/9/63 is alleged to have said that plans were in the making to kill JFK, and further to kill Martin Luther King. He was reportedly jubilant over the death of the President, but on interview by FBI 11/27/63, he denied all above statement or knowledge of same. Considered to be an outspoken segregationist.
Degree of threat: 2 (of 3)
Organizations: Affiliated with: Constitution party of the US, KKK, The White Citizen’s Council and the Congress of Freedom
Action taken: SA’s conducting background and QI’s do not feel that he is a danger to protectees.

Name of individual: JOINER, BOBBY SAVELLE
Reason for PRS interest:  Arrested with Gene Audra , Gary Dwayne Joiner, Raymond Lee Joiner and Roy Eugene Joiner immediately after the assassination while picketing the Trade Mart in Dallas. FBI reported that he tried to get Roy Joiner to shoot JFK
Degree of threat: 2 (of 3)
Organizations: Indignant White Citizen’s council
Date called to Secret Service attention: 11/21/63
Action taken: Interviewed by FBI on 6/8/64. Feels strongly against integration. Denied any involvement with assassination. Claimed he held Pres. In high regard. Has been arrested several times, once shot boy with pellet gun.

Location of subject last: Grand Prairie, Tx ‘66

1 comment:

William Kelly said...

p.349 - the Gary Ferel Hodge document, of this batch.. This guy sure looks like another possible false defector.

Name of individual: HODGE, GARY FEREL
Reason for PRS interet: May ’62 deserted USMC in Japan. Sought political asylum with Cuban Embassy. In ’57-’58 had worked in LBJ’s office. Uses WH contacts for personal interests. Believed sympathetic towards communists. While living in Mexico City, has been observed contacting 2 member of Soviet Embassy who belonged to KGB.

Degree of threat: 3 (of 3)
Date called to Secret Service attention 7/22/63
Action Taken: It is not clear what action has been taken. Looks as though S.S. keeps tab on this subject through use of other US agencies.

Mike Chesser notes:

He died just recently:

He taught English in Rio de Janeiro in the 70's:

Thanks Mike